A Paper on Life and Ideas of John Locke

Document details
Category: Philosophy Essay
Subcategory: Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy
Words: 900
Pages: 2

John Locke (1632-1704) was one of the greatest philosophers in Europe at the end of the seventeenth century. It is accurate to say that John Locke is the theoretical architect of democracy as it exists in the western world today. His ideas, as expressed in his famous Second Treatise on Civil Government, were influential in forming the political philosophy of the founders of the American and French Republics. Lockes ideas contradicted the more conservation assumptions which had been put forth by Hobbes in his Leviathan, and they became the classic defenses of the political ideals of many seventeenth-century Englishman the origins of the state, Locke maintained, lay in a social contract between the people and their government, and the people were within their rights to remove or alter a government which betrayed their trust. John Locke is diametrically opposed to Hobbes. The account begins with an important distinction, which was undoubtedly directed at Hobbes the distinction between life in a state of nature and life in a state of war. In the state of nature, men live on the whole peaceably. They own private property, such as land, and also have private possessions such as cattle and sheep. Men by nature are not wholly selfish they sometimes work for the good of others and they co-operate with each other but sometimes, on the other hand, they do act egotistically. What property they own they may dispose of without asking the permission of anyone. The only law which governs them is what Locke calls the law of nature. This is the provision that no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions. Now although life in the state of nature is a rule, peaceful men occasionally may transgress the law of nature they may attempt to kill someone, or to steal his property. When this occurs, the injured party has the right to punish the transgressor. There would be no...

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